The Art and Science of Teaching

Here are my undergraduate students’ unedited exam descriptions of the art & science of teaching.  All of them left high school just a few years ago.

Male Student — Teaching is more of an art than a science. An art is focused on appreciation. Appreciation is at the core of the classroom. If a teacher appreciates the subject they will be better suited and more inspiring to their students. Appreciation is necessary from both the students and the teachers towards each other in order to be an effective teacher. The teachers that were my best teachers were more focused on appreciating the students and the learning process than on the effectiveness of them. By appreciating these things, the teacher was able to be a more effective teacher. The teachers that were not as good were the ones that tried to be effective teachers but did not put forth any appreciation. My classroom will be built on appreciation. I will make sure that the students see how much I appreciate them, the subject, and the learning process. I will ensure that they appreciate each other and what each of them brings to the classroom.

Female Student — I don’t think teaching can be defined as either an art or a science. I think it can only be defined as a combination of both. If appreciation is the only thing a teacher is concerned about, while the students may have high confidence levels and feel like they are important, they won’t have the skills that they need to realistically succeed. On the other hand, if teachers are only focused on effectiveness, the students may develop good skills and do well on tests, but they might not be able to apply it to themselves on an individual level. The teachers that I learned the most from were very encouraging and appreciative of the natural abilities that I possessed, and were also willing to find ways to help me with the things that I struggled with. I also had a few teachers who neglected both of these who I learned the least from.

Female Student — I believe teaching is a combination of an art and a science. I think you need to have a deep appreciation of what you teach, and be able to express that in a way so that your students will have an appreciation for what you are teaching. If they appreciate it, they will perhaps understand it more or easier, and won’t mind learning about it as much. At the same time, you need to be effective at how you teach to get it across the best way. Some of my best teachers were very effective, while the appreciation might not have been there. My US History teacher in high school drilled the information into our heads. We would quiz everyday and go over what we had just learned. He was very effective at teaching the subject because I received a 98 on the EOC exam, but his appreciation was a little off. We learned more about what happened exactly, rather than why, or who it affected, or what it affected. My worst teachers were not effective. My chemistry teacher stopped teaching altogether halfway through the semester, but she would show us things about chemistry and she loved it. It was great that she loved it, and I could appreciate how cool chemistry was, but she did not teach us how to do it, and thus we all came very close to failing the class because of this.

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